April 26, 1967 (27th Parliament, 1st Session)


John James Greene (Minister of Agriculture)


Mr. Greene:

With respect to the actual payments made in toto to the dairy farmers during the time of the previous administration, which now is so critical of our program, as compared to the period when we were in

April 26, 1967
Interim Supply
office, in 1966-67 some $19 million were paid to dairy farmers. During the coming year our contribution to try and put this industry in shape, as hon. members know, will be some $120 million. As compared to this, in 1962-63 the contribution of the previous administration to the solution of this very grave problem, which I am sure was as grave then as it is now, was some $42.3 million in respect of the stabilization board subsidies and another $13 million in respect of the payments made at that time on butter. In 1959-60, it was $9.8 million; in 1960-61, $11.4 million. I cite these figures to show how we have dealt with the problem and in what degree as compared to the previous administration.
We heard criticism from the hon. member for Kent (Ont.), to the effect that our dairy production was decreasing. I am sure the hon. member for Kent (Ont.) would not want to mislead the house, the country or the dairy farmers. I know very well he is interested only in the truth and in facts, so I think we should lay those facts before the house. In
1957 the total dairy production in manufacturing milk was 17,000 million pounds, going up to 17.7 in 1958, 17.6 in 1959, 17.7 in 1960, and 18.3 in 1961. Today that production it at 18.4 thousand million pounds.
Some concern was also expressed with regard to the total income of dairy farmers. Let us take a look at that. In the six years from
1958 to 1963 the gross income of dairy farmers in Canada increased from $479 million in 1958 to $509 million in 1963, an increase during that six year period of $30 million. From 1964 to 1966 it has increased from $509 million to $581 million, a $72 million gross increase during a period of three years.
We also have some concern with respect to the consumption and production of butter. During the period between 1958 and 1961 the consumption was down by some 30 million pounds by reason of the policies then in effect. Consumption from 1962 to 1966 has gone up some 60 million pounds, thus increasing the volume of the market and improving the income of the dairy farmers to that extent.
With regard to the policies which were in effect when we came into office, so that we may determine whether or not satisfactory progress has been made I should like to cite one or two articles current in the newspapers of that day. I refer to the Globe and Mail for November 15, 1962, which contained the following paragraph:
Since May 1, butter consumption has gone up but so has output and agriculture minister Hamil-

ton has warned that price support cuts seem inevitable. In turn, Ontario milk producers have asked for a national dairy industry royal commission.
On November 12, 1962 the Ottawa Citizen had this to say:
The federal government will go into 1963 with 237,000,000 pounds of butter in storage, 40,000,000 pounds more than a year ago, and no immediate plans for preventing further growth of the butter surplus in the year ahead.
This was the dismal picture presented today as federal and provincial authorities gathered for their annual conference to review agricultural developments over the past 12 months and the outlook for the year ahead . ..
The minister indicated the government has not yet come up with an answer to the problem of butter surpluses.
We have had lots of answers tonight, however.
Mr. Hamilton denied that the buildup of surpluses was caused by the 64-cents a pound butter support price established by the federal government. This is equivalent to $2.50 a hundredweight for milk, less than the price at which a farmer could make a living, he asserted.
So that is what the farmer received in 1962, according to the then federal minister.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, major spokesman for the farmers of Canada, also indicated it has no answer to the problem of growing butter surpluses.
"Dairy industry policy is a vexed question and it is no secret that at the present date neither this organization nor any other agency responsible for carrying out the recommending policy has a ready answer to it," it said in a brief presented to the conference by its president, H. H. Hannam.
I suggest that that statement was a responsible one.
The brief called for the formation of a national policy that would provide for an increase in demand and a contradiction in supply of butter stocks...
At the same time, the federation said the 12 cents a pound consumer butter subsidy established by the government earlier this year to counteract the sharp fall in demand should be followed by the establishment of some form of quotas to tailor production to demand.

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